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Nurses blame Holby City for unrealistic expectations

Television hospital dramas like Holby City are leading patients’ families to expect medical “miracles” with injury lawyers exploiting their unrealistic hopes, a nursing conference has heard.

Medical dramas fuelling a culture of litigiousness at the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) annual conference in Bournemouth.

Nurses also warned that a fear of being sued could lead staff to leave the profession and make it more difficult to recruit trainee nurses in the future.

The NHS spent £807 million settling claims in 2008/09, up from £661 million in the previous year, figures from the National Health Service Litigation Authority show.

John Hill, a nurse from Scunthorpe, told RCN’s annual conference in Bournemouth: “In A&E it is sometimes a fact that sadly we cannot get people through the trauma they have received.

“Unfortunately, unlike in Holby City, I am a mere mortal and cannot perform miracles.

“But many relatives believe because of that, you can.

“And the injury lawyers assure them that if you don’t they will get recompense for it.”

There were 8,885 clinical and non-clinical claims made in 2008/09, although less than one in 20 of these go to court.

The Litigation Authority has previously warned that fees from no win, no fee cases are affecting NHS patient care.

RCN delegates also claimed that fears over becoming embroiled in litigation claims could drive nurses from the profession.

Jane Bovey, a nurse from Wiltshire, told the conference: “I’m concerned that nurses will be afraid to continue in this profession.

“I’m also afraid that we will fail to recruit future nurses as the fear of litigation will be so that they will question their decision.”

Marcia Turnham, a nurse from Cambridgeshire, warned that patient care was being compromised because nurses were spending so much time documenting their actions, to protect themselves in the case of future litigation.

She said: “One of the main concerns is that there’s too much documentation associated with the care we have to give.

“A big part of that is those documents associated with indemnity insurance for the trust.

“Every time a patient is admitted it can take a nurse 40 minutes to fill in the paperwork.

“That’s time that a nurse could be spending with the patient.”

Howard Catton, head of policy with the RCN, agreed that there was a problem and said that the fear of litigation could lead nurses to become “defensive”.

He said: “People talk about being risk averse in their practice to the point of becoming defensive.

“There is a consequence that through becoming defensive you don’t move forward and you don’t improve.”

Source on net: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7639708/Nurses-blame-Holby-City-for-unrealistic-expectations.html
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Cardiff leaflet ‘nurse’ is Lib Dem staff

The Liberal Democrats have been attacked for using a party employee to pose as a nurse on an election leaflet.

The leaflet, promoting Cardiff North candidate John Dixon, shows him talking to a woman in nurse’s uniform.

But the identity of the ‘nurse’ has been revealed as a researcher for the Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates.

The Lib Dems said the picture was meant to be “illustrative”. Opponents have described it as “appalling” and an attempt to mislead the public.

Jonathan Morgan, the Conservative AM for Cardiff North, said: “They should apologise to my constituents and to the nurses working in Cardiff who will be astonished at this behaviour.

“It is appalling that the Lib Dems in Cardiff North would seek to deliberately mislead my constituents by using a picture of their candidate talking to a nurse, when I know she is not a nurse and has never been a nurse.”

Health record

But a spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats defended the image: “The photo in the leaflet was designed to be illustrative to help us highlight the party’s commitment to improving the NHS and we didn’t intend to cause offence to any health professional.

“Our candidate in Cardiff North has a strong record of improving health and social care in the community.”

But the picture has also come under attack from others.

A Welsh Labour spokesperson added: “Its one thing pretending your leader could be Prime Minister, quite another having your staff pretend to work for the NHS.

“Every picture tells a story, and this picture says you can’t trust a Lib Dem.”